EDM# 30: Draw a chair. See a new place.

Jack and I are back from our visit to the Crooked Trail of western Virginia. We drove 1,400 miles in six days, visited six states, heard a lot of music, ate one salad, did a small amount of drawing, and had  a great time.

We saw beautiful places like Mabry Mill in Meadows of Dan, Virginia.

We ate lots of interesting Southern vittles.

We were sorely tempted.

We visited the phenomenal O. Wilson Link Museum, the coolest thing in Roanoke.

We visited Roadside America in Shartlesville, PA, the world’s coolest miniature village.

Seriously, the coolest. This is not one of those tilt-lens pictures that make reality look like a miniature. It’s a miniature that looks an awful lot like the real thing.

We got bossed around by signs a fair amount.

This was our trip credo.

We saw some fantastic old time music shows, like this one in Floyd VA’s Country Store.

And this one at the Carter Family Fold, the Mecca and Ground Zero of country music.

We visited a mess of log cabins.

And hung out at Appomattox, where the Civil War ended in 1865.

The mountains were smoky. We had rain, fog, but mainly lovely sunshine.

A spooky moment one night in Floyd.

And I drew a chair. Or two. And some hungry musicians.

I prepainted the page in watercolor before I left, then knocked out this Safari sketch and tinted it with sumi ink and a white pencil.

You can see more of my photos on my tumblr.

EDM #29: draw something architectural

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I looked through some of my old travel journals and realized that what I have been missing in my recent drawings is the interaction between different drawings, the flow of events as I capture them, different drawings done in different places butted up against each other. I’ve been doing these morning edm drawings in a specially designated book, one per page and I have lost a lot of that antic energy I like. So on our trip to Appalachia, Jack and I are both drawing in smaller moleskines and I’m using a smaller pen (usually a PITT XS). I have my super tiny paint set and a water brush. It’s a whole new set of challenges using a finite set of art supplies and tiny ones at that and it is making things new again. All that is of course multiplied by being in a new place and seeing things through fresh eyes.
Some of it is very annoying, particularly trying to use my phone, my iPad and any available wifi to post these drawings to my blog but it’s all party of the adventure.

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EDM # 28: Draw an appliance

I laid down this base color in tribute to avocado green, harvest gold and almond, the kitchen colors of my youth. Now everything seems to be black, white and stainless steel. Drawn with a bamboo pen and india ink.

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Jack and I are heading out on a road trip along the Crooked Trail today.  I will be drawing on the trip and hope to continue tackling the challenges each day but I doubt I’ll be able to scan and upload for the next week or so. If I get decent wi-fi, I’ll try, so stay tuned.

EDM #27: Draw a book

Sorry, for the self-congratulation but I’ve never drawn this before. It was nice to be sitting in my air-conditioned studio with all my gear around me. I drew it with both Lamy safari nibs, then painted it with Dr. Martin’s and did the background in gouache and the writing with a dip pen and white ink.

I love seeing people’s versions of my work. Below is a lovely rendition by Matthew Midgeley.If you’ve ever drawn one of my books, I would so love to see it.

By Matthew Midgeley

Love this one by Jinho Jung:

EDM #26: Draw anything you like.

I drew this under a misting fan in an outdoor restaurant in Dallas where the temperature was heading to 106 degrees.  Overwhelmed and distracted by this intense heat,  I scratched feeble white charcoal pencil lines. Others, more hardy, jogged and cycled up and down the Katy trail in the background. I had prepared the page with gouache back in New York on Friday, anticipating a certain browness to the proceedings, but naive as to the desultory effects of the actual weather.

While I was unable to do much drawing in Dallas, I did manage to take some photos of Dealey Plaza and the Texas Bok Depository, a grim and effecting place that I have read so much about since I was a teenager. It was smaller than I had imagined and I felt a terrible sadness that I had only ever experienced at Gettysburg and Ground Zero. an ordinary street corner that my imagination and memory populate with powerful tragedy.

A misting fan in the tree overhead.

A rare sighting in Dallas.

Marks the spot on the road where JFK was shot.

On the back of the fence overlooking the grassy knoll where conspiracy theorists share their versions of history for five dollar tips.

Too hot to draw much.

Nutrition advice from Rusty Taco.

EDM #25: Draw a glass (the kind you drink from)


It’s funny with a drawing sometimes how you can start out with something in mind and then find yourself in a completely different place. Sometimes that’s because you couldn’t pull off what you intended but sometimes it’s because something inside just pulled you off in another direction. I thought it would be nice to do a very flat sort of painting today, sort of like the foot I did last week, a base of blue with some sharp white highlights, very graphic and chiseled like my beer mug. Then I would draw on top with a thick pen, a Sharpie or a bamboo.
I mixed up some bright blue gouache and loaded up my brush. Then I fell into an observation of all the highlights and the different blues that reflected through the prisms of the glass… A few minutes later, I had ended up here, with essentially a watercolor painting without lines, not very gouachey and not at all the graphic, screen printed thing that had been in my mind.
I considered doing the heavy line drawing on top of the painting, just to hold on to some of my vision but before i uncapped my inkwell, I asked Jack his opinion and he insisted I leave it just as it is. So i did.
I like to try out different techniques and media, but sometimes I can’t escape my inner me, a person who gets into the details, who’s more prone to fiddle, who isn’t inclined to the simple, who likes the process more than the result. I can wrestle myself off my usual path, but in the end, I yam what I yam.

EDM #24: Draw a piece of fruit


This is my second painting of the day. My first is now in the dustbin — a failed experiment in painting with raspberry juice which I’ve discovered does not get darker as you layer it but just stays sticky and anemic.
Instead I tried using gouache more like oil or acrylic paint, mixing it thick and creamy and building up opaque layers from dark to light. I love the intensity of the color but the process is still a series of challenges — which is after all the point of this series of challenges. A lesson a day.